The sacred Mayan calendar is a lunar calendar created by the ancient Maya that we can, even in modern times, apply to our everyday life to connect and flow with the distinctive energy of each day.
I’ve been studying for several years and have been blessed with the honor of interpreting dozens of Mayan fire ceremonies at the retreat center where I work, as well as participating in numerous ceremonies with different leaders. I love how each ceremony is unique, yet they all have threads of commonality woven through them.
The person who leads the ceremony is called a Mayan spiritual guide, and they may be men or women. Most of them are Mayan by blood, although there are some foreigners who study with a lineage and go through the rigorous initiation process to become Aj Q’ij. They’re not technically shamans, though most people call them that. There’s a slight distinction—shamans work with spirits, often using sacred plant medicines, whereas spiritual guides work with energies and read the messages in the fire and in the natural world around us.
The ritual begins with the creation of a beautiful mandala inside the fire circle, involving a design drawn in sugar that represents the nahual (energy) of the day, topped with fragrant copal (frankincense), colorful candles, tobacco, candies, flower petals, and an assortment of other offerings. We then go through the count of days, touching upon each nahual, expressing gratitude and setting intentions. The spiritual guide may invite participants to interact with the fire in specific ways—some verbal, some physical, some silent—and to toss in offerings of incense, chocolate, seeds, and candles for the ancestors and nahuales throughout the ceremony.
The sacred Mayan calendar cycle lasts 260 days, which is roughly nine months—not coincidentally the length of human gestation. It is made up of 20 Nahuales with 13 energetic tones each that cycle in a never-ending spiral. The 20 Nahuales are said to represent the 20 fingers and toes of the human body, and the 13 numbers represent our 13 major joints. (The Nahual and number that occurred on your birthday comprise your Mayan sign; visit MayanCross.com to find out yours.)
When we consciously find ways to bring the energies of the 20 Nahuales (spiritual energies that are connected to elements of nature, animals, concepts, and colors) into our days, we start to open up to the potent forces of creation.
The Kawoq trecena is coming up from June 6-18, 2023. Kawok is the rainstorm, and the coming two weeks may bring a sense of inner turbulence that can feel like a tornado moving through your life. Eventually, the storm brings healing and soothes the soul.
The turtle is the spirit animal of this nahual. Kawoq is connected with the 13 moons in a year and the ancient wisdom of the divine feminine. Grandmother turtle helps us develop the patience and grace essential for moving through turbulent times in our lives.
Kawoq is the nahual of the birthing process and midwives. It brings a compassionate, loving, wise yet fierce energy that cares about family and community. It’s the warm feeling of home and the kind-hearted hug of a grandmother.
For the next 13 days, connect with the divine feminine and the force of nature that supports new life and new ideas to be birthed. Kawoq is the rainstorm needed to create this sacred space.
Practical ways to connect with Kawoq
Meditate on what new project, creation, or initiative is asking to be born through you.
Journal about what’re you ready for the storm to wash away. Ask yourself what energy no longer serves or benefits you and write one to two pages in your notebook, stream of consciousness style.
Slow down and embody the wisdom of the turtle spirit. Stop and smell the roses. What’s the rush? Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
Spend time in the presence of inspiring women and/or taking in the work (film, visual art, literature) of talented women artists. Receive their guidance, feel their compassionate presence and soft yet fierce strength and allow yourself to be held. Feel safe, secure, and at home within yourself and breathe in the loving support of your femme friends and feminine spirit guides.
The following days comprise the upcoming Kawoq trecena:
1 Kawoq/June 6
The storm brewing and starting. Allow the rain to cleanse you. Accept what is.
2 Ajpu/June 7
Divine sun. Duality and relationships highlighted. Remember and give gratitude for your precious golden humanity.
3 Imox/June 8
Grandmother water, collective consciousness, looking within, meditate in solitude.
4 Iq/June 9
Stable imagination, grounded communication, hummingbird medicine: inspiration.
5 Aq’ab’al/June 10
Hard work as dawn turns to day and/or day turns to dusk, right effort.
6 K’at/June 11
Good day to network/connect, plan what to let go of and what to keep.
7 Kan/June 12
360º views, kundalini life force energy, snake medicine, wisdom teachers.
8 Kame/June 13
What is life but infinite birth, death, and transformation? Perform a simple ceremony for the ancestors and spirit world today.
9 Kej/June 14
Balance female and male power, connect with nature and wilderness, take a hike, do some forest bathing, deer medicine.
10 Q’anil/June 15
Manifestation of the seed, ripening in community, golden light joy.
11 To’j/June 16
Directionless offerings, service, debts, gratitude, day of sacred fire.
12 Tz’i/June 17
Reflect on your life experiences of love, truth, and justice.
13 B’atz/June 18
Connect the threads of time with the wisdom of the ancestors, get inspired by the arts to create beauty.